“you painted me into being and I breath you into life?”
A year ago, I was one of the lucky readers who got the chance to meet author Melissa Turner Lee online. She approached me with a request to read and review her first book, The Earth Painter. After reading the premise of her book about Painters who created the Earth, I can’t help but agree to read and review her work even I already have a full schedule in my calendar. At that time, The Earth Painter is a self-published work which makes me wonder, why a unique and interesting story like that wasn’t discovered yet by book publishers? It took few more months before the publishing industry noticed it. Then I heard about the second book, The Man Painter which I am eagerly waiting to read even before the released.
The Man Painter is the final installment to the brilliant Painter series of Melissa Turner Lee. Two years after the events of the first book, The Earth Painter, Holly is on her way to Thanksgiving dinner with her parents. While driving to Asheville she heard on a radio news about an auction of rare & old paintings which she thinks has something to do with Theo. She decided to go back to Charleston and locate the place where the auction will be held & there she met one of the organizers of the auction, Cynthia. Cynthia recognized Holly immediately from Theo’s sketches and bring her to Theo’s place. Holly finds herself face-to-face with Theo and soon his Khai-Ree. But there is something different with them, especially Theo, who acts so concern with mundane things.
The Man Painter is a quick & fast-paced read that continuous the unique fantasy world of Painters series. The story runs in a perfect flow that won’t allow you any dull moments. It’s full of mysteries and revelations that will continuously hold your interest from start to end. From Holly and Theo’s reunion, Theo’s health condition, up to Fritz hidden motives and his big plans for humans.
Holly Shruggs the main character and narrator is more mature now compared to the previous book. She doesn’t dwell anymore on negative things that her mom told her about her. In here, she appreciates and like herself more. She is living her own life in her own terms, dealing the things around her positively. She is helping Theo in coping up with mundane things and swaying away Fritz negative whispers.
“When you catch him having a Clark Kent moment, you remind him that you still see him as Superman.”
Theo is more vulnerable in this book. After the incident from the previous book, he isn’t the same earth painter anymore. In fact, he is not one of the Painter anymore. He lost his title along his powers when he fell in love with Holly. He can’t travel anymore through doors and passages. Even his talent to paint that used to flow naturally is gone. His new life requires huge adjustments, and of the major fall back is his health condition. Being born in the past where life isn’t too complicated and everything is all natural and organic his body can’t cope up with the present world. He is always in a big risk of losing his new life and leaving Holly for good.
Khai-Ree-Hloa-Theo, the ever loyal companion of Theo is more than the faithful servant. He is like a friend and a brother to Theo. He cares a lot to Theo and will do anything that he thinks will make Theo safe and happy. Even it means disobeying the sciences, and bringing Holly closer to Theo, who he blames for Theo’s bad condition.
The Sciences though not all present in here or doesn’t have major roles except for Bio, were still a nice addition to the story. I really like how Melissa created those characters. The rules and formulatic behavior she gave to them were not only unique but also fit perfectly to their nature. Like how these Sciences see the mundane things using their scientific interpretations. Bio for instance doesn’t like the unknown, just like most sciences who needs predictability. They rely on scientific explanations and approached things based on logic and fact. Most of the scenes with Bio provide humor and fun to the story.
“I was fire — burning, raging, exploding in all directions. And I was water — flowing, having no shape and no boundaries. Then I was a million shooting stars lightning up the night before falling to earth.”
The Painter series is worth reading for the unique mythology alone. Add the interesting characters like the Painters, the Sciences and the Khai-Rees this book is overflowing with originality. Much fast paced & enjoyable read than its predecessor, The Man Painter is a satisfying conclusion to Holly and Theo’s story.